Just four months into 2019, Rotorua downhill mountain biker Tuhoto-Ariki Pene has already spent more time on podiums than most people do in a lifetime.

So far this year, the 18-year-old has competed at multiple events in New Zealand and Australia and collected an impressive haul of medals in under-19 races.

He started the year with the three-race Mountain Bike New Zealand National Downhill Series. He finished first in Auckland and second in both Canterbury and Cardrona, which was enough to finish the under-19 series in first place overall.

"That was a good confidence-builder ahead of Crankworx and nationals. It's

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